Seafarer nominations sought for National Heroes Day

'Tradition', a statue in Heroes Square in George Town, features the images of mariners at work. The 2021 National Heroes Day will honour Cayman's seafaring heritage. - Photo: Taneos Ramsay

Government is inviting members of the public to nominate individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Cayman’s seafaring heritage over the years.

The successful nominees will be recognised at National Heroes Day next year, the theme of which is ‘Celebrating our Seafaring Heritage’.

The nomination period ends on 31 Oct.

“Seafaring is an integral part of the Cayman Islands history, identity, society, economy, and development. For decades, thousands of Caymanians depended on the sea for their livelihood. Through their heroic efforts in boat building, ship building, shipping administration, turtling, and seafaring, these resilient and courageous Caymanians built the foundation of this society,” a statement issued by the Protocol Office said.

The statement noted that Cayman’s national motto, ‘He hath founded it upon the seas’, serves as a reminder of the islands’ rich heritage and unique identity. “From building sailing vessels at home to fishing out on the high seas hundreds of miles away, from piloting catboats while turtle ranging to sailing the world on merchant ships of all sizes and classes, local seafaring people became renowned worldwide for their skills with attributes of resilience, perseverance, an aptitude for hard work, independence, and a spirit of entrepreneurship that has made Caymanians who they are today.”

The statement said the role of women will also be highlighted with a special category to recognise their outstanding contributions to seafaring.

“Seafarers are navigators, merchants and soldiers. It is their courage that has built the lives we enjoy today. It takes brave men and women to take up such a noble and often dangerous calling. Our heritage is written by seafarers and though we aim to celebrate them next year we ought to be doing it every day,” Minister of Culture Dwayne Seymour said in the statement.

The nominations process is overseen by the Ministry of Health, Environment, Culture and Housing in conjunction with the Protocol Office, Celebrate Cayman, Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands and the Cayman Islands Seafarers Association.

Nellie Pouchie, acting chief officer in the Ministry of Culture, said, “It is my privilege to help lead this Nominations committee. Seafaring is synonymous with the culture of the Cayman Islands. While the heroism of every person who participated in one of the many aspects of seafaring should be acknowledged, we are inviting the public to nominate those very special men and women whose contributions went above and beyond.”

National Heroes Day is usually celebrated on the fourth Monday in January and is a public holiday.

The public is invited to nominate individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Cayman’s seafaring heritage in the following categories:

  • Early Pioneer
    An individual, alive or deceased, who made an exceptional contribution prior to the 1940s in the areas of ship building, boat building, shipping administration, turtling or seafaring. A commemorative insignia and certificate will be awarded.
  • Pioneer
    An individual, alive or deceased, who made an exceptional contribution from the 1940s-1980s in the areas of ship building, boat building, shipping administration, turtling or seafaring. A commemorative insignia and certificate will be awarded.
  • Excelled at Sea
    An individual, alive or deceased, who during their seafaring career advanced in rank to the highest level of their profession, or performed a lifetime (at least 40 years) of service regardless of final rank. A commemorative insignia and certificate will be awarded.
  • Women in Seafaring
    A woman, alive or deceased, who bravely went to sea or made exceptional contributions to the islands’ seafaring heritage. A commemorative insignia and certificate will be awarded.
  • Memorial Scroll
    A person who made the ultimate sacrifice and lost their life as a result of going to sea or serving as a seafarer. This individual will be recognised with a certificate.
  • Friends of Seafarers
    An individual, alive or deceased, or a company that was instrumental in facilitating and supporting Caymanian seafarers or providing assistance to Caymanians while they were at sea. They may have been based in the Cayman Islands or internationally. They will be recognised with a certificate.

Electronic forms are available on Celebrate Cayman’s website, www.celebratecayman.ky, and on the Ministry of Culture’s webpage, www.ministryofhealth.gov.ky. Online submissions are encouraged.

Hard copies of nomination forms may also be picked up and dropped off in Grand Cayman at the Government Administration Building, as well as at the Seafarers Association Hall where assistance in filling out nominations will be offered upon request.

In Cayman Brac, nomination forms are available at the District Administration Building.

Completed forms can be submitted to: [email protected]

Only completed nominations received by the deadline will be considered.

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